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Ogden schools get help in efforts to crack down on ‘devious licks’ challenge

By Tim Vandenack - | Sep 21, 2021

Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner

Mount Ogden Junior High School in Ogden on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. The principal of the school sent a message to parents, asking them to speak to their kids about the 'devious licks' challenge, an apparent problem in schools around Weber County and across the nation.

Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner Mount Ogden Junior High School in Ogden on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. The principal of the school sent a message to parents, asking them to speak to their kids about the ‘devious licks’ challenge, an apparent problem in schools around Weber County and across the nation.

OGDEN — Efforts to crack down on theft and vandalism in Ogden schools stemming from the “devious licks” challenge on TikTok have yielded results, school officials say.

Only days after sending a letter to parents advising them of the apparent toll the behavior was taking on Mount Ogden Junior High School, the principal lauded subsequent efforts from students and parents aimed at halting the trend and identifying those involved.

School officials received tips from “many students,” and administrators and the Ogden Police Department school resource officer are following up. “We have discovered some of the culprits, who have received consequences, but still have a lot of investigation and follow up to do,” Cynthia Smith, the principal, said in a message late last Friday.

Smith also praised parents who discussed the matter with their kids. “We know there have been many effective conversations and expectations set at home. We have even had parents who guided their students to return stolen items and have supported school consequences,” she said.

Jer Bates, the Ogden School District spokesman, expressed hope the trend, impacting schools across the country, is on the wane. “Thanks to the swift response from students who are proud of our schools along with parents and school employees using this as an opportunity to teach kids about making good choices, this social trend appears to have been short-lived in our community and the damage has not been extensive,” Bates said in a message to the Standard-Examiner.

Ogden police didn’t immediately respond to a query on the matter.

Participants in the devious licks challenge — teenage students, mainly — swipe something from their schools then post video of the haul or action on TikTok. Bathrooms have been particular targets, with soap, soap dispensers and even sinks taken, according to TikTok videos of the activity from around the country.

Officials at schools across the country, including others in Utah, have lamented the trend, according to media reports, as have TikTok reps. Weber School District reps suspect some students in that system have also participated in the challenge.

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